Latex mattresses are some of the most popular mattresses in the market today. But what is a latex mattress?
That is the question we answer here in this article.
Latex is a natural product derived from the rubber tree. It’s not until 1931 that this product was turned into a mattress. Since then it has remained one of the most popular mattresses.
Latex is loved for its superior support, comfort, and durability which rivals the likes of memory foam.
In this article, we will be looking at how latex mattresses are made, types of latex and latex mattresses, and the benefits.
How is a latex mattress made?
Latex is derived from the rubber tree – Hevea brasiliensis. It’s a white sap contained in 10% of all flowering plants.
It’s harvested by making an incision on the rubber tree and collecting the white sap in a process known as tapping.
After the latex is collected it can undergo one of two processes to produce a mattress. The two methods of making a latex mattress are the Dunlop or Talalay method. Each method results in its own distinct features and benefits.
Dunlop produces a denser foam while Talalay produces a fluffier foam. A latex mattress can be made up of either of these forms or both. Since Dunlop is denser it’s better for support while Talalay adds more comfort.
Methods of Producing Latex Mattresses
The Dunlop method of processing latex is the original method and was first developed in 1929.
The process follows several steps:
Step 1: Liquid latex is collected and whipped into a froth
Step 2: The froth is poured unto a mold and transported by a conveyer belt into an oven for vulcanization
Step 3: The vulcanized foam is removed from the mold and washed thoroughly
Step 4: The foam is dried to remove any additional moisture, then shaped and packaged
The Dunlop method of processing latex results in a denser foam. Because heavier particles settle at the bottom of the froth, Dunlop latex is known to be very heavy on the bottom and is best used as a base.
The Dunlop method is also the most energy-efficient of the two methods.
Talalay method is the newer method of the two. It follows the same steps as the Dunlop method with only slight variations.
Here is how a Talalay Latex mattress is made:
Step 1: Liquid latex is whipped into a froth
Step 2: It’s partially poured into the mold. The mold is then sealed shut in a vacuum to help expand the foam.
Step 3: The latex in the mold undergoes a flash freeze process where Carbon dioxide is blown through the mold causing it to gel
Step 4: The frozen latex is then heated in an oven
Step 5: The resultant foam is then washed and air dried to remove any remaining moisture
The vacuuming process in the Talalay method allows for an even distribution of particles. The flash freezing makes Talalay foam lighter and fluffier in texture.
While the Dunlop method can produce huge blocks of foam that can be turned into a mattress directly.
The Talalay method can only produce smaller blocks at a time.
So, most Talalay mattresses usually contain several layers which are glued or stitched together.
It’s good to find out where and how the layers are attached together, to ensure you get a quality long-lasting mattress.
Types of latex mattresses
It’s easy to think that there is only one type of Latex mattress, but that isn’t the case.
Latex is a natural commodity and a lot of it is required to produce a mattress. For example, it takes 12 acres of rubber trees a day to produce enough latex to create a queen size mattress.
This makes latex a rather expensive material to use for a mattress. It is with this in mind that some manufacturers combine latex with other materials to reduce the overall cost of the mattress.
Types of latex mattresses include:
A natural latex mattress is the best kind of latex mattress. This type of mattress is made with 100% natural latex tapped from trees.
It’s a green option which comes with plenty of benefits. This kind of latex is highly supportive, durable, hypoallergenic, and sleeps cool.
Synthetic latex is a manufactured latex that mimics natural latex. Synthetic latex is made from petrochemicals There are many types of Synthetic latex but the most common one is styrene-butadiene rubber or SBR.
Synthetic latex is less bouncy than natural latex, it’s also less durable.
Blended latex contains both natural and synthetic latex. Blended brings forth the best of both worlds. Most manufacturers selling latex mattresses, sell blended latex to provide a more affordable latex option.
Most of these manufacturers combine a small layer of natural latex with a larger layer of synthetic latex.
When buying a latex mattress be wary of labels that mention 100% latex.
This doesn’t mean that the mattress is all-natural but rather it contains latex, any latex.
Benefits of latex mattress
A natural latex mattress has many benefits. Being a green material, latex provides the right kind of support, it’s durable, safe and cool to sleep on.
Latex is very resilient in nature. Its springy nature makes it a highly supportive material to lie on. Just like memory foam, Latex has the ability to conform to one’s body shape, reducing pressure pain points.
Besides, latex’s ability to bounce back quickly, makes it easy to move in bed and eliminates that stuck in feeling common with memory foam.
Latex mattresses are great for anyone who needs a firm mattress.
One common complaint with most modern mattress material is that they sleep hot. Luckily latex’s natural nature allows it to sleep cool.
The material is also highly breathable as it spots an open cell structure.
Besides, the pinholes visible on latex mattresses also allow the mattress to breathe better.
All this goes into the critical role of ensuring you maintain optimal temperatures necessary for a great sleep.
Latex is one of the most durable materials. Latex mattresses can last over 15 years long, which is twice as long as other mattress materials.
Latex’s ability to bounce back to its original form as quickly as possible allows latex mattress to last longer.
Compression weakens the cell structure of a mattress which eventually leads to wear and tear.
The springy nature of latex mattresses ensures the mattress doesn’t compress or lose it’s shape quickly, therefore giving you many more years of superior support.
Latex, just like memory foam, has excellent contouring capabilities. When you lie on a latex mattress, it contours to your shape and form without giving in. This offers great support as well as comfort.
Talalay latex which is softer and springier than Dunlop latex is the best type to go for when looking for comfort.
In this era of information, most people have realized how toxic materials affect their lives and the environment. Natural latex is the only way to sleep green.
Natural latex doesn’t off-gas harmful chemicals into the living environment.
When you buy a natural latex mattress you are assured of a clean sleep environment without the adverse effects of other bedding materials such as memory foam.
Latex in its natural form is a strong insect repellent. A natural latex mattress contains these benefits as well.
This makes this kind of mattress dust mite and allergen resistant. Latex mattresses are perfect for people who suffer allergies.
Rubber trees are easy to grow and mature within 6 years. Tapping latex from rubber trees doesn’t kill them and these trees are known to last up to 100 years.
Rubber trees also help rid the environment of carbon monoxide. Therefore, when you buy a natural latex mattress you are actually supporting a safer environment.
Latex is also biodegradable, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill and doesn’t release harmful gasses into the air.
With the explanations of how a latex mattress is made, it’s types and benefits, this article answers the question “What is a latex mattress?”
Basically, a latex mattress is a green mattress made up of latex, a substance collected from rubber trees.
It’s produced through Dunlop or Talalay processing methods to provide different textures of latex.
Latex mattresses have many benefits like superior support, high durability, high breathability, and eco-friendly.
Remember, however, that there is natural and synthetic latex. Synthetic latex is manufactured from petrochemicals and not a green option.
It is, however, a budget-friendly option. When these two types of latex are combined, they produce blended latex.